Friends went away with largely the ending it had to have, and which came as no surprise to anyone. The final season was produced with few episodes and made quite quickly, which seemed to show at times; there were a lot of bits that never quite worked, things which might have been polished or edited out with more time. But it did what it did, and now it’s done. It leaves a small hole in my viewing plans.
Frasier leaves a larger hole, even though it went through a season where I decided I didn’t have to watch it. The last season returned it to its madcap roots, and even though it had some missteps (notably, that odd dance where Maris being accused of murder was introduced and then suddenly sloughed off, as if they thought better of it), it was worthwhile. There have been rumors that the studio has been shopping around a new series built around the Frasier character; it seems to me hard to build a very different concept around him, and they’ve done what they needed to do with the farce. (The obvious spin-off to me was always to give Roz, sexually active single mom, her own show. If that should come to pass, I hope they don’t just pick up where they left it on Frasier, with (SPOILER ALERT FOR FOLKS WHO HAVE THE FRASIER FINALE TAPES) Roz becoming the boss at the station. My main concern there is that puts her as boss over Gil and Noel, and creators might feel the need to keep those character. Noel was a one-note character that never served the Frasier series well; Frasier was much better when it skewered the pretensions of the high’n'mighty, and Noel gave them a stereotype to legitimize the snobbish attitude.)
This week’s Saturday Night Live was Jimmy Fallon’s last. He had become the clear leader of the pack, so it will be interesting to see how the cast shakes out next year. Of course, it was probably the last episode for a couple other folks who may just not know it yet. One potential disappearance from the scene is announcer Don Pardo; I’m suspicious of that only because they showed him on camera this episode, and I cannot recall them doing that throughout the entire run of the series. Don’s 86 at this point; if he wants to take some time off, he’s earned it.
But dang, I hope there’s some good stuff next season. There was some good stuff this season, but most of it is gone (he says, keeping his fingers crossed for the survivial of Arrested Development.) Of this season’s new network shows, I’m pretty much down to watching Arrested Development, Two And A Half Men, and Las Vegas (and that without much excuse.) Given that we’re losing/lost preexisting shows Frasier, Friends, Angel (admittedly, this was off the “watch” list until late last season), Boomtown, Life With Bonnie (rumored, at this point, but it’s off of the “watch” list anyway)… there are many holes in the schedule now.